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Tired of your regular dinner recipe rotation? Switch things up with weekday themed meals, like Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, and Fish Friday that’ll get your motor running and take your taste buds on an exciting new journey!

Juggling everyday life can be chaotic sometimes, but meal planning for the week can help make life a little simpler (and here at Direct Auto, we’re all about making things simple). Themed dinner nights make every day feel a little more special and just might give you the inspiration you need to step up your culinary game.

Shake up your meals at home with these themed dinner ideas:

Meatless Monday: Easy Sheet Pan Veggies

Monday night meals should be easy, and this sheet pan dinner is the definition of no-fuss. Start your week on the right note with tons of healthy veggies and a side of hearty grains. This recipe is a delicious Meatless Monday meal, and it even makes enough leftovers for a Tuesday lunch.

Sheet pan vegetables, with carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, and zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 crown broccoli
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium red potatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • Rice, quinoa, or another whole grain, to serve
  • Dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or hummus, to serve

Directions

  1. Adjust the oven racks to roast two baking sheets. Preheat oven to 450˚ F.
  2. Make rice, quinoa, or other whole grain according to package instructions.
  3. Wash and prep the vegetables. Chop broccoli into florets. Peel and cut onion into thick slices. Dice sweet potatoes. Dice red pepper.
  4. Place all vegetables in a large bowl. Add drained and rinsed chickpeas. Mix in olive oil, garlic powder, Old Bay, Italian seasoning, and salt until everything is evenly coated.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange an even layer of vegetables on each sheet.
  6. Put baking sheets in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Do not stir! Remove pans from oven and rotate, roasting an additional 10 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve with a side of rice or quinoa and a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or hummus.

Adapted from A Couple Cooks

Taco Tuesday: Slow Cooker Taco Meat

Taco Tuesday just got a little easier thanks to this taco meat recipe you make in a slow cooker. Just gather tortillas, salsa, and other toppings, and you’ve got a great weeknight dinner.

Soft shell taco filled with ground beef, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and cheese

Ingredients

For the taco meat:

  • 4 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar taco sauce or picante sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

For the tacos:

  • Taco shells or tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onion
  • Cilantro
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Break apart the ground beef and mix until ingredients are well combined. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, covered, stirring occasionally.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat from slow cooker into a large paper towel-lined bowl. Let excess fat drain from beef for 10 minutes before serving. Assemble tacos with whatever toppings your taste buds desire!
  3. Transfer beef to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Adapted from The Cookie Rookie

Wing Wednesday: Dry-Rubbed Baked Chicken Wings

Fried wings are delicious, but they’re a lot of work. These dry-rubbed baked chicken wings are way easier to make at home and loaded with flavor. Serve these on Wing Wednesday with a side of creamy gorgonzola dipping sauce. It’s your new midweek pick me up!

Plate of dry rubbed chicken wings

Ingredients

For the dry rub:

  • 1/2 tablespoon ancho chile pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or less depending on your preference
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ground thyme

For the wings:

  • 4 pounds chicken wings, completely thawed if using frozen wings
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

For the gorgonzola sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3-6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with an oven-safe cooling rack. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken wings and oil. Toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat.
  3. Sprinkle approximately 1/2-2/3 of the dry rub mixture over the chicken wings. Use your hands to massage the dry rub into all of the wings, coating evenly. Add more of the dry rub if necessary.
  4. Place chicken wings on prepared baking sheet and bake 45 minutes.
  5. Prep the gorgonzola dipping sauce. In a food processor or blender, add mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, 1.5 ounces of crumbled gorgonzola cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.
  6. Transfer dip to a serving bowl and stir in remaining gorgonzola cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Adapted from The Chunky Chef

Takeout Thursday: Sesame Chicken Green Bean Stir Fry

Recreate your favorite takeout recipe with this sesame chicken stir fry. It’s fresh and fast – only 30 minutes to a weeknight meal packed full of protein. Yum!

Takeout container filled with sesame chicken, noodles, carrots, and broccoli

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the veggies:

  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and halved

For garnish:

  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
  • Scallions (green parts only)
  • Sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Make the stir fry sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, water, garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, grated ginger, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground chicken and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Break up the meat and cook until it is no longer pink. Once cooked through, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, add 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil. Add carrots and onion, cooking for 2-4 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add green beans and bell pepper and cook, frequently stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until green beans are slightly tender but have a crunch. Add cooked ground chicken back to pot with veggies. Turn heat to low and add the stir fry sauce. Cook another 2-4 minutes over low heat until sauce thickens.
  4. Serve over brown rice or quinoa for a healthy, filling meal. Garnish with roasted cashews, scallions, and a dash of sesame seeds.

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Fish Friday: Foolproof Fish with Spiced Chickpeas

Roasting fish in the oven is the easiest, most foolproof fish cooking method out there. Cooking fish low and slow helps infuse it with yummy flavors and avoid potential smelliness. Try this recipe out on Fish Friday.

Whitefish filet served over savory broth with greens and spiced chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, sliced and divided
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2-pound piece of whitefish, such as cod, halibut, or haddock
  • 1 cup mint leaves

Directions

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 300˚ F. Peel shallots and cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Separate shallots between a medium bowl and a small bowl.
  2. Prep the finishing sauce. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup raisins and transfer to medium bowl with shallots. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss gently to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add reserved shallots (not the shallot-raisin mixture) and cook, occasionally stirring, until lightly golden in color, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and red pepper flakes and cook, constantly stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chickpeas, carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until ingredients are well coated and combined, about 3-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
  5. Cut whitefish into even portions, so they fit into the skillet. Season fish on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Nestle pieces of fish into chickpea mixture and transfer to oven. Bake until fish starts to flake with a fork and appears just barely opaque, 15-20 minutes. This step could take longer, depending on the thickness of the fish. Check around the 15-minute mark and cook longer if necessary.
  6. Finish the sauce. Coarsely chop 1 cup mint leaves and add to shallot-raisin mixture. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to combine.
  7. Remove skillet from oven and spoon mint salsa over fish to serve.

Adapted from Basically

Steak Saturday: Perfect Flank Steak

Steak tastes good, but it’s expensive. Save money by opting for cheaper cuts of beef and more marinating time. This four-ingredient steak marinade turns a tough cut of flank steak – or any more affordable choice cut of beef, for that matter – into tender and juicy deliciousness. Steak Saturday just might become a weekly occasion.

Try this marinade on other cheap cuts of beef like boneless short ribs, top round, or bottom sirloin. Don’t forget to pair your steak with a classic side dish, like creamed spinach or crispy salt and vinegar potatoes.

Juicy marinated steak, cooked medium, sliced on a cutting board

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

For the steak:

  • 2 pounds flank steak, or any cut of choice beef
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. Add steak and toss until evenly coated. Let steak marinate for 1 hour per 1 inch of thickness.
  2. Remove steak from marinade and pat very dry with paper towels.
  3. To grill: Preheat grill to medium-high. Place steak on grill and cook to your liking, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your steak.
  4. To broil: Preheat oven broiler to high. Place steak on a baking sheet and cook, flipping once halfway through, until cooked to your liking, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your steak.
  5. Let rest before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Delish

Slow Cooker Sunday: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

The slow cooker is the star of this Sunday night themed dinner. Start the week right with this delicious set-it-and-forget-it Indian butter chicken recipe, which doesn’t include any butter at all. “Butter” actually refers to the dish’s velvety texture. It’s smooth and creamy with just the right amount of spice.

Ceramic bowl filled with Indian butter chicken, made with cubed chicken in a creamy turmeric sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Warm naan, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, add 2 cups water and cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk chicken stock, tomato paste, curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place chicken thighs, onion, garlic, and ginger in a slow cooker. Pour in chicken stock mixture and stir.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours. Stir in heavy cream, lime juice, and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately with basmati rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Here at Direct Auto, we’re all about making things easy, whether with a weekly meal plan or a quick quote on affordable car insurance. Get a free quote by calling 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), visiting us online, or stopping by one of our local stores. We’re always a quick call, click, or drive away!

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